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Real Beauty Transcends Barriers

Real Beauty Transcends Barriers Featured image description is in the body of the post.

Real Beauty Transcends Barriers

Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.

~Bill Drayton

So what is a social entrepreneur anyway? 

social entrepreneur is a person who pursues novel applications that have the potential to solve community-based problems. These individuals are willing to take on the risk and effort to create positive changes in society through their initiatives.

I took the path to social entrepreneurship when I was a youngster. As a self-professed misfit, I developed a heart for fellow misfits early on. Looking back, I’m sure being bullied because I was so shy, socially awkward, and extremely sensitive led me in this direction.

The desire to fit in with my classmates was so strong yet so unattainable. I’d eventually retreat into a solitary world filled with books and creativity.

Finding My Voice

Being voiceless is such an awful feeling. You feel helpless, hopeless, and invisible. While I had a strong sense of fair play, believed in truth, and doing the right thing, for some reason, I felt vulnerable and small. Yet, I found my voice the day my younger brother was picked on by one of my tormentors. Something in me just snapped and I chased down the creep. To this day I still have the scar on my knee from when we hit the ground as I whaled on him. 

Sticking up for my brother made me feel so good. Protecting him not only empowered me it felt like it was the right thing to do. Is it any wonder that I would become an advocate turned social entrepreneur? 

Contemplative, systematic, intentional along with the need to right wrongs drives me; it’s who I am. Advocating on behalf of other people is my purpose and my gift. It’s one of the reasons I created Bold Blind Beauty

Accepting the fact that I could no longer see was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. What made it far more difficult were the societal reactions to blindness, blind people, and the wild misconceptions. My blindness helped me to ‘see’ that changing perceptions was needed to improve inequity and inequality for people with disabilities. 

There’s Power In The Message

We are living in a time where anyone can exercise their right to say anything about another for the whole world to see. It matters little whether what is being said is true or not, we can’t seem to use restraint in speaking our minds. For someone who has found their voice in speaking up for others the world of social media can be extremely overwhelming. 

Social media is so noisy and people like me don’t and won’t yell–it’s not our way. So when someone gets our message it’s so much more meaningful than fame or notoriety.  

Recently on Bold Blind Beauty I featured Dr. Amy Kavanagh and this morning I got all choked up over a post she wrote. In Bold, Blind & Beautiful, Amy talks about beauty and disability as it relates to her on a personal level. She also talks about how she reflected on this site’s central message: “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.” 

Identifying The Problem

I’m not interested in becoming rich or partnering with a fabulous company to take me to the next level. What I am interested in is changing perceptions not just for blind people but for anyone who has a disability. I believe beauty, real beauty is far more than aesthetics. Real beauty is deep, it’s who we are at our core.   

When I was young, I wanted nothing more than to fit in. Fast forward several decades, my strength and real beauty was found in being a misfit. Today, I choose not to follow the crowd and while I may be a misfit I’m a misfit who won’t compromise my principles. 

Blindness is not the problem. Disabilities are not the problem. The problem is how we as a society view people with disabilities. Not unlike a caste system, people with disabilities are widely looked down upon and seen as inferior. What’s so funny if it weren’t so sad is we are the only minority group where anyone can become a member at any time.

As a social entrepreneur, I take my role here at Bold Blind Beauty very seriously. I’m protective of the people I feature here and the site’s messaging. Abby, the fashion icon, articles, and the merchandise are all interconnected and designed to change people’s attitudes towards blindness. 

Appearance is only one small way to be beautiful. When the beauty of your youth fades will you like who you’ve become?

Real Beauty Transcends Barriers Featured Image:

A photo of me sitting on a bar stool at my counter. My chin is lightly resting on my propped up right hand. I’m wearing winter white pants with a creamy gold long sleeve v-neck sweater and matching fringed vest. I’m holding my white cane in my left hand.

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Finding Strength In Acceptance & Choice

Finding Strength Featured image description is in the body of the post.

Finding Strength In Acceptance & Choice

Recently, I was thrilled to participate in the Perfectly Imperfect series on Trend-Able during Invisible Disabilities Week (October 14 – 20). Being featured alongside Jessica Marie of Eyeliner & Empowerment and Diane of Spoonie Living was the highlight of my week. The creator of Trend-Able, Lainie, is a fellow advocate and warrior with a powerful message on disabilities. When you have a moment check out: 3 Chronically Awesome Bloggers To Know.

Did you know 96 percent of people who have a chronic illness live with an invisible one?* “In 1997, there were 26 million Americans considered to have a severe disability and only 7 million of them use a wheelchair, cane, crutches or walker (U.S. Department of Commerce).”** What this essentially means is there are no obvious signs of an invisible disability.

Many personal challenges, I face as a person living with an invisible disability, are mainly misconceptions within society. Even in 2018, most people still believe blindness is seeing or not seeing, for them it means total darkness. When blindness is, in fact, a spectrum disorder. Contrary to popular belief, blindness is not always obvious.

Powering Through Acceptance & Choice

What I find interesting is how many of us who live with disabilities find strength in acceptance and choice. We know we cannot control our disabilities, yet each day we choose to power through. Though we might have different conditions, we empower others by accepting our conditions and realizing the power of choice.

Finding Strength Featured Image Description:

The image is a blue circular logo of invisibledisabilities.org. It has white text on the inner rim that says “Invisible Disabilities Week Oct. 14 – 20.” In the center of the circle is the year “2018” with an “i” (representing a person) between the 0 and 1. The image also contains the hashtag title “#InvisibleDisabilitiesWeek.”  

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White Cane Day Celebrates B&VI People

White Cane Day Celebrates Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

White Cane Day Celebrates B&VI People

“The white cane is more than just a mobility tool for blind and vision impaired users. It is also a badge of strength and boldness. It allows us to take back our lives, regardless of where we fall on the sight loss spectrum.”

~Bold Blind Beauty

White Cane Day celebrates the achievements of blind and visually impaired (B&VI) on October 15 every year. It also reminds people of how the white cane is an important tool in helping the B&VI live with greater independence.

We are extraordinary. We are able to see the world through a spectrum few get to experience. No matter where we fall on the blindness range we have developed skills from self-care to independent living that allow us to take full advantage of our remaining sensory systems. Among our ranks are poets, ballerinas, teachers, composers, models, pianists, writers, singers, social workers, psychologists, photographers, artists, fashion designers, lawyers, physicians, athletes, chefs, yoga instructors, astrophysicists, chefs, and the list goes on. We chose to soar and continue to thrive beyond physical limitations because we understand there is always a way.

White Cane Day Celebrates Featured Image Description:

Bold Blind Beauty template with fashion icon Abby to the left of the text. Abby is walking with her white cane in one hand and handbag in the other. The image and text are white with a black background. She wears a stylish dress and heels and is sporting her signature explosive hairstyle. 

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World Sight Day | A Road Well-Traveled

World Sight Day | A Road Well-Traveled featured image description is in the body of the post.

This road is where I had the most magical, moving epiphany of my life. 
You see, I had just been declared legally blind, turned in my license and quit work. Yeah, it was what you’d call a Shit-tastophe. But my legs still worked, so they were my transportation and I’d walk this road every day.

~Jennifer Dutrow

Today is World Sight Day and what better time to share this lovely piece written by my friend Jennifer Dutrow? What I love about this post is how Jen clearly demonstrates the power of choice and helping others, no matter our circumstances. Enjoy! 

World Sight Day | A Road Well-Traveled

I took this picture (featured image) in 2015, and I’d be lying if I said I’m not still brought to tears by it. This road is right behind my house. A country road for sure, since there are no lines. A road traveled often by horse and buggy people.

This road is where I had the most magical, moving epiphany of my life. 
You see, I had just been declared legally blind, turned in my license and quit work. Yeah, it was what you’d call a Shit-tastophe. But my legs still worked, so they were my transportation and I’d walk this road every day. 

Consider the road my state of mind at that point in time. The green field on the left was the life I had grown…work, family, success, purpose. The barren field on the right was what I thought my future would be without sight. Unless…unless. 

Unless I realized that life doesn’t end when my sight does. Unless I realized that my life is whatever I make it. It was on this road, on that day in 2015, that I decided to make that barren field green by staying active, learning all I could about fitness and nutrition, and making it my mission to help anyone I could to make their lives as incredible as possible.

World Sight Day Featured Image Description

As Jen described, the photo is an empty country road with lush green grass on one side and a barren field on the other. In the background are rolling tree-laden hills and the cloudless sky is a picture-perfect azure blue.

Connecting With Jennifer: